To Track or Not To Track?

Many of us have a fitness tracker on our wrist. We glance at it throughout our day to check on our step count, mileage, heart rate, how many minutes of exercise we’ve done and so much more. It can remind us to move, it can wake us up. It can do so much.

For me, I regularly glance at mine to check on my step count. I don’t think I’m obsessed, as some days I do a lot and others I don’t. Unless I’m taking on a challenge when I want to do X amount of steps or mileage, the majority of time, it’s just a watch to me.

Do you look at it and have a competition with yourself as you try to get 10,000 steps a day or do you always want to do better than the day before. Are you glancing at it often, perhaps a little too obsessively? Why not take a break from it? What? I hear you cry. ‘Why would I want to do that? What proof will there be of the 12 mile run I did?’

Ok so losing the fitness tracker may not be the easiest thing to do. And the thought may bring you out in a sweat, just like that 12 mile run. But would it really make a difference if you didn’t put it on for a day?

I stopped wearing mine for a week. I felt free. I wasn’t glancing at my watch checking my steps or getting that hourly reminder to move my ass and get my steps up. There was no pressure and it felt wonderful! Much more relaxed. I went for walks, I went about my day and never really gave it a second thought. I did look at my wrist to check the time on a few occasions but surprisingly, I didn’t miss it.

If ditching the tracker feels like losing a friend then here are three ideas for you to try to ease yourself in:

  1. Take the tracker off you wrist for a day. Go about your day. Do you miss it or do you feel free? Does it matter that there isn’t a record of the exercise you have done that day or a note of your steps. Think back to the days before your tracker. When you went for a walk, it was a walk, it wasn’t about the steps, or the miles, or the calorie’s you’ve burned. It was a walk, something to be enjoyed, to look around at nature (yes I know you can still do that with a tracker, but the focus has shifted). A walk should be something you enjoy, for exercise and to get out and improve your health. Does a tracker tell you how you feel? No. So the day without your tracker, notice how you feel when you don’t have a step count, mileage, heart rate or calories burnt to inform you.
  2. Take it off whilst sleeping. This may be tricky if you use it as an alarm to wake you up or if you love to see how well you slept, but there are alternatives. Use a normal alarm clock or use your phone. What did you do before your tracker? As above are you looking at your tracker to tell you how you slept. This information is useful, but you may have had 5 hours sleep one day and feel refreshed but your tracker may score your sleep as poor so you take that on board. But taking it off whilst you sleep, you have nothing to look at in the morning to tell you how you slept, so how did you sleep? Did you wake up a lot? Did you sleep well, waking up before your alarm? Do you feel refreshed? Why not take it off tonight, and see how you feel in the morning.
  3. Does it matter. Why do you want or need to know your stats? Before this was invented you likely didn’t have a way to know the details. So why is it important now? Are you trying to get 10,000 steps a day and this will help you achieve it? If you want to increase your steps/exercise then do just that, move more, get outside, go for a longer walk at lunchtime or perhaps fit one in before you start work. Being fixated on a number can do more damage than good, you can become obsessive about getting 10,000 steps, but if you are moving a lot and feeling good, focus on that and not hitting a mark. Go for quality over quantity, 30 minutes of exercise 5 times a week is great, aim for that.

Fitness trackers are great, they have helped us in many ways, however, they can also make us become obsessive and focused on getting certain numbers and increasing our stats. Focus on how you feel and if the tracker is actually benefiting you. As long as you use it positively and it doesn’t adversely affect you, then wear it. But from time to time, take it off and give your wrist a break. Exercise because you want to and not because you feel like you should so you have a good number on your tracker.

I enjoy wearing mine, however, removing it for a week has made me realise I don’t need to wear it all the time. I can walk, run, jump or hop and it doesn’t matter if it isn’t tracked somewhere. The key is, I know I have done what I wanted to do.

Have a great week everyone. Thank you very much for reading. Take care and look after you!

Love Emma xx

2 thoughts on “To Track or Not To Track?

  1. This reminds me of digital well-being – or at least my conception of it. I was very happy with my Polar Ft7, it wasn’t that ‘digital’ and it was a healthier option for me as it would give you the calories, heart rate and distance – and that was pretty much it! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s pretty good! I do think simpler is better. We can get too much information becoming obsessed with data and what it all means. I think sometimes we just need to switch off from it all and go back to basics! 😊


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